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Royal National Institute of the Blind -RNIB- Endorses ScanSoft SpeechPAK TALKS; Signs Master Distribution Agreement
CAPE TOWN, South Africa --(Business Wire)-- Dec. 8, 2004 -- UK's Largest Blind Association (RNIB) Selects ScanSoft SpeechPAK TALKS for Mobile Phone Accessibility; Application Offers Enhanced Accessibility for All Handset Users
World Blind Union General Assembly - December 8, 2004 - ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT), the global leader of speech and imaging solutions, and the RNIB, the UK's leading charity offering information, support and advice to approximately two million people with sight problems, today announced that the RNIB has signed an extended agreement to offer ScanSoft(R) SpeechPAK TALKS(TM) to individuals who are blind or visually impaired throughout the United Kingdom.
There are nearly 2 million people in the UK with sight problems and every day in the UK another 100 people start to lose their sight. SpeechPAK TALKS directly addresses the growing concern by providing a "talking phone" that enables individuals to have full access to features and information on their mobile phones - from short text messages to caller ID read aloud to them in a natural-sounding voice. Leading service providers, including Cingular, Vodafone, Orange and Telecom Italia, and a global network of assistive technology dealers currently market and offer SpeechPAK TALKS to customers across the globe.
SpeechPAK TALKS provides users with the information they need quickly, in a comfortable, easy-to-use manner, alerting them to messages such as email, text messages and incoming calls, and provides a unique caller ID function that enables users to learn who is calling without picking up the phone. Typical caller ID features are visually based, and force the blind or low-vision caller to answer the phone to learn who is calling. With SpeechPAK TALKS, the caller's identity is read aloud to the user in a voice that is configurable and easy to understand. In addition, speech-enabled access to practical features, such as battery and signal strength, ensures that users can maintain the basic functions of the telephone.
"ScanSoft is addressing a crucial need with SpeechPAK TALKS, as most mobile phones are not designed to be entirely inclusive to the blind and low-vision community," said Steve Tyler, Strategic Manager Digital Technology, RNIB. "We are extremely impressed with the quality, performance and features provided with the SpeechPAK TALKS application, and see this as an important application for every blind and low-vision mobile phone user."
SpeechPAK TALKS provides a host of features designed to make mobile phones more accessible, and to directly meet the needs of the blind and low-vision community or provide accessibility to those who simply wish to become more productive through hands-free access to important information. With SpeechPAK TALKS, users can:
-- Hear caller ID information and check logs of incoming and outgoing calls
-- Write and listen to emails, text messages and notes
-- Manage contact information and dial phone numbers from the directory
-- Use the appointment calendar
-- Edit and add contacts, settings and profiles according to their personal preferences
-- Use the calculator, alarm clock and other important tools
-- Hear practical information about the battery level, network and signal strength
"ScanSoft is committed to making solutions that enhance accessibility for users throughout the world, in many different environments and devices," said Alan Schwartz, vice president of SpeechWorks, a division of ScanSoft. "This endorsement from the RNIB is further demonstration of the importance and value of our speech solutions for people with disabilities. We are pleased to partner with the RNIB to provide an affordable solution to blind and low-vision customers throughout the UK."
RNIB's objective is to ensure that mainstream distribution channels are utilised to deliver mobile technology to visually impaired and blind users. It will concentrate on business to business relationships with the mobile industry in order to ensure customers get good service, a good price and the product they want when they want it. Over the next two months agreements are being put in place alongside ones that already exist such as RNIB's partnership with Vodafone.
About the SpeechWorks Division of ScanSoft
ScanSoft delivers field-proven speech solutions. Its unmatched portfolio and expertise help thousands of companies around the world to improve the way we communicate. Through a global partner network, the company delivers solutions that use the human voice to interact with information systems and devices. Today, thousands of companies and millions of users around the world depend on SpeechWorks(R) solutions from ScanSoft to deliver vital business information and simplify every day life.
About ScanSoft, Inc.
ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT) is the global leader of speech and imaging solutions that are used to automate a wide range of manual processes -- saving time, increasing worker productivity and improving customer service. For more information regarding ScanSoft(R) products and technologies, please visit www.ScanSoft.com.
There are around two million people in the UK with sight problems. RNIB's pioneering work helps anyone with a sight problem - not just with Braille, Talking Books and computer training, but with imaginative and practical solutions to everyday challenges. We fight for equal rights for people with sight problems. We fund pioneering research into preventing and treating eye disease. We need your generosity. If you or someone you know has a sight problem, RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0845 766 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk
ScanSoft, the ScanSoft logo, SpeechWorks, and SpeechPAK TALKS are trademarks or registered trademarks of ScanSoft, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. All other company names or product names may be the trademarks of their respective owners.